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From the Word Fugitives archive...

Always tired

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Topic: 3) Always tired (1 of 37), Read 446 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Wen Stephenson (wen@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 10:32 AM

Jan, of Durham, N.C., writes: "I would like a word to describe the tire fragments left by the roadside when a truck tire blows. I commute on a busy highway, and there is always some debris in the road or on the shoulder."

P.S. Barbara Wallraff is momentarily without Internet access. She'll be back soon.
-Wen Stephenson

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Topic: 3) Always tired (2 of 37), Read 419 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 11:36 AM

ritter -- it's akin to litter, but made of synthetic rubber.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (3 of 37), Read 101 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Scott McCabe (jsmccabe@msn.com)
Date: Wednesday, August 04, 1999 10:46 AM

In response to the question from Jan from Durham, N.C., concerning "a word to describe the tire fragments left by the roadside when a truck tire blows," this word suddenly came to me as I was driving down a highway:
"extirement" (ek' stir ment) -- similar to excrement, which describes all the mess left from blown truck tires on the shoulder ("Somebody should come out here and clean up all this %#@$!"). What do you think?

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Topic: 3) Always tired (4 of 37), Read 417 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 07:22 PM

Surely, I thought, the EPA would use the technically correct word for this. This is what I found at http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/procure/general/vehicpdf.pdf:

"FACT: Rubber on the road comes from both new tires and retreaded tires, primarily from truck tires that are overloaded, under inflated, or otherwise abused. New or retreaded tire failures can be greatly reduced by following all the rules of good maintenance, including proper mating with regard to diameter and tread depth and design, as well as maintaining proper air pressure."

Sure "rubber on the road" is less concise than Jan's "tire fragments", but now we know how they got there and what can be done about the problem.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (5 of 37), Read 413 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 07:45 PM

I think I found the answer. There is a site called Tire terminology at http://www.intlscience.com/TranslatorsCorner/TireTerminology.html, which lists the following definitions:
"Chipping"; loss of small pieces of tire due to rough terrain (e.g. offroad).
"Chunking"; loss of large pieces of tire due to centrifugal forces created at high speed running.

So the big ones are chunks and the little ones are chips.

But I still have one question: Is this what was meant by "Don't tread on me?"



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Topic: 3) Always tired (6 of 37), Read 416 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 08:09 PM

uff-da... time to retire, Rus.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (7 of 37), Read 404 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Thursday, May 27, 1999 11:26 AM

Hello, Rus,

(I'm back online.) In fact, I'd thought of titling the letter "Don't tread on me" on the Word Fugitives board, but it seemed ... what's that, Michael? Uff-da? Means what?

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Topic: 3) Always tired (8 of 37), Read 405 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Thursday, May 27, 1999 04:35 PM

::with southern drawl::
that's retar'ded

the meaning of uffda

to the matter at hand, it indicates the sudden loss of air one experiences when confronted with a really tiresome pun.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (9 of 37), Read 391 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Friday, May 28, 1999 05:15 AM

Let me get this straight now. Pieces of tire on the road are made of chips of wood, except for the big ones which are composed of the the peanut fragments used in chunky peanut butter?

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Topic: 3) Always tired (10 of 37), Read 387 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Friday, May 28, 1999 07:20 PM

Roger

I like to think of them as chunks of chocolate and chocolate chips.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (11 of 37), Read 366 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Carano (mcarano@neo.rr.com)
Date: Thursday, June 10, 1999 06:51 AM

Scattermoth's Modern Dictionary has the word "rubberish" and the definition pointedly refers to exactly what you describe: n. rubberish: the debris left on the edges of the berm or sometimes in the center of the road after a truck tire blows"

Caddie Blowindawind

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Topic: 3) Always tired (12 of 37), Read 364 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Thursday, June 10, 1999 10:36 AM

may I assume that we have the Brits to thank for rubberish?
this is almost as good a word as bumf!

today's wwftd is...

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Topic: 3) Always tired (13 of 37), Read 359 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: John Posten (repsap@yahoo.com)
Date: Thursday, June 10, 1999 11:25 AM

Seems to me that Bandag is the company best known for re-treads. And it is pieces of re-tread that trucks occasionally throw off.

Perhaps a simple anagram will do. How about "dagnab?" Used as in, "Dagnabbit! That truck just threw a dagnab in my path!"

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Topic: 3) Always tired (14 of 37), Read 356 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Leslie Fournier (lfournier@node.on.ca)
Date: Thursday, June 10, 1999 03:31 PM

Well, this may seem ridiculously simple but my family has always called it "tire detritus".

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Topic: 3) Always tired (15 of 37), Read 351 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Dan Chall (danchall@interport.net)
Date: Thursday, June 10, 1999 05:22 PM

On 6/10/99 3:31:50 PM, Leslie Fournier wrote:

>"tire detritus".


detritus= TIRE DUST


--Dan

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Topic: 3) Always tired (16 of 37), Read 354 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Friday, June 11, 1999 12:25 AM

more detritus anagrams:

tire stud
tired stu
tred suit
dire tuts

today's wwftd is...

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Topic: 3) Always tired (17 of 37), Read 341 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Chuck Maurer (cmaurer@dhc.net)
Date: Friday, June 11, 1999 08:41 PM

Once while on the interstate, I heard them called alligators on the CB.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (18 of 37), Read 340 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Catherine Griffiths (cegriffs@erols.com)
Date: Friday, June 11, 1999 11:04 PM

road decor? in the great tradition of Marshall Mc Luhan?

road memorabilia?

interstate ennui?

if there's rubber on the road, did the blown tire make a sound?

is a tire only the afterburn of the wheel?

etc. ,etc., etc.






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Topic: 3) Always tired (19 of 37), Read 342 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Saturday, June 12, 1999 05:17 AM

Road adornments, shortened to rodor. Also short for "rubber stinks" or "road stench". r-odor, get it?

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Topic: 3) Always tired (20 of 37), Read 343 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Saturday, June 12, 1999 11:24 AM

rodor... rhymes with wodor?
(word ardor ;)

today's wwftd is...

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Topic: 3) Always tired (21 of 37), Read 336 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Greg Sarab (sarab@usa.net)
Date: Monday, June 14, 1999 02:21 PM


Millions of tires travel billions of miles.

In their passing, tires deposit microscopic particles of rubber on the road. Each particle is a new larval tire. From the moment of birth, the tiny proto-tires instinctively migrate to the nearest road shoulder. They join others on the way to form small colonies, and then larger clusters, that appear to speeding observers as chips, shreds, curls and treads. The last stage happens only on the darkest nights, when the treads undergo a convulsive involution and emerge as mature tires. After midnight under the new moon, the tire harvesters cruise the roadways and load their trucks.

At least, that's what I was told...

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Topic: 3) Always tired (22 of 37), Read 345 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 1999 06:06 AM


When I was young, before everything was made from synthetics, we heard stories; stories about undomesticated tires living in the woods near the highway. We had seen them ourselves, resting in muddy sties and dangling like monkeys in trees.

According to legend, rubber is alive. As old cars rolled down the road, they deposited microscopic particles of rubber on the pavement. Each particle is a larva, each tire a parent. At the moment of birth, the tiny prototires instinctively migrate toward the shoulder of the road. They join others along the way forming thin processions that in the scale of the old west would be like a wagon train a thousand miles long.

When they reach the shoulder they form small colonies. As more protos arrive they become larger clusters. When large enough, they become the clutter that motorists observe as they speed by. The last stage happens only on the night of the new moon, when the treads undergo a convulsive involution and emerge as mature tires.

Life for an undomesticated tire is tough. Those that make it to the edge of the road and adulthood face further challenges to their survival in the wild. After midnight on the darkest nights, tire harvesters cruise the roadways and load their trucks.

There is an advantage to their isolation in the woods near the highway. It's key to their survival. No humans live there. Most people don't go there except for the occasional moment or two of relief. That's why undomesticated tires go mostly unnoticed, why modern science hasn't written about them, and why great journalists don't comment on their social and economic plight. People notice them sometimes. But they don't really see them, if you know what I mean.

At first we took the stories for just what they seemed to be, just stories. It was entertaining to hear the theory of their birth as their parent tires rolled by. We thought little of it when we first heard of it, like the strange ramblings of UFO sightings and ghost stories.

But WE decided to test the theory. That led to the first of what is now our traditional Sunday drive. The three of us, now four, scouted the highway looking for ripe clusters. Being novices our first time out, we began three weeks before the new moon hoping to find the best spot. John was a fisherman and lectured endlessly about the effects that temperature, instinct, and even rain might have.

We discussed the possibility of danger and then chuckled it away. "Have you ever heard of anyone being mauled by a freshly constituted clan of retreads?" I've tried to remember who said that first, but always come up thinking it was a joint effort, something that emerged from the loose clutter of our excited chitchat.

After about two weeks of intensive searching and note taking, Mary declared a clear winner. Out on interstate 95 a group of clusters had formed that reminded us of a grand community of fire ants. Surely, we thought, each hill would produce a bicycle tire. The site also had the advantage of being next to an open field. We made plans to sit in the car with sandwiches and maybe a little Lone Star beer. "A real night of it," we said.

We wanted it all to go perfectly and so started the evening working down a checklist. Food - check. Beer - check. Ice - stop at the convenience store on the way. We headed out for a last look at the site, to make sure that our colony had not been ravaged by war or met some other untimely fate. We were surprised beyond all earlier expectations. Soon into our trip we spotted a new colony, with black rolling hills and valleys that contained enough tread for a whole sixteen-wheeler.

Mary got all excited. She kept telling me to stop and turn around so we could inspect the mounds. She sounded frustrated with me as I continued driving, eyes fixed forward like I didn't hear her. I saw something about a hundred yards ahead. About half way Mary saw it too. Then John said, "Geeeezzowie!" There was another great mass of chips, shreds, curls and treads about twice the size of the last one.

A hundred feet ahead came a third dark rolling mass. This third colony tapered off to thin low trails meandering through isolated villages, then shot up again into massive towers. Mounds of varying proportion began appearing on both sides of the road with trails between each forming a continuous chain of bustling cities.

We drove on, dazed. The mass on the right side of the road faded again continuing in a smooth thin trail, not ending until it climbed to a gargantuan metropolis where our ant hills once stood. The new moon would appear that night. Like the shores of ancient China, Greece, and Egypt, the edge of the road had become the birthplace of a great civilization.

What this meant and how it had come to be in such a short period of time was boggling my imagination. I needed to collect my thoughts.

(to be continued?)

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Topic: 3) Always tired (23 of 37), Read 331 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 1999 08:32 AM

Wow, Roger. And then what?

Also, what time of year did this happen? My understanding is that feral tires are especially active around Midsummer's Eve.


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Topic: 3) Always tired (24 of 37), Read 338 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 1999 09:29 AM


John broke the silence. "It's midsummer's eve."

In Texas, people have long since forgotten the ancient celebrations of the seasons, having found no reason to celebrate midsummer especially. It's warm most of the year, when it's not hot. Better to rouse a sleepy air-conditioned bar or relax in the shade with an ice-cold glass of tea than to embrace the weather with any ritual.

"Frogs ," John choked. Mary and I looked for frogs on the highway but saw none. We looked at John again and then at each other. He knew about midsummer's eve because of his knowledge of fishing and frogs. That didn't matter, or so we thought.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (25 of 37), Read 323 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 1999 12:26 PM


We looked back at John again. He held his face in his hands. Mary and I began making serious plans. We no longer needed to concern ourselves with where the high mounds stood. They were all around us.

The best plan, we decided, was to park the car and hide in the woods behind one of the communities, somewhere we wouldn't be detected. We decided to stick to the old plan when it came to sandwiches and beer, except for the ice. We'd have to start out with cold ones after dark.

John never said another word, except once. He was staring down at his shoes, red-faced, shaking his head and pulling his hair. "Frogs," he said. And then again, "Frogs."

The woods behind the great metropolis turned out to be right for our purposes. We could sneak in over the thin trail leading up to it with cover from some nearby bushes. So that was the plan. As we saw the last orange glow of sunset we assembled the sandwiches and beer and made our way across, hauling John along by his hand.

We found the perfect spot for sitting up next to a small group of trees. We scouted the area stealthily, Mary and I speaking in whispers and hand signals. There were more bushes between us and the city but we could see around them when we wanted to. That was good. Mary pointed and snickered, "The Great Mounds of Roador." We lost control and chuckled a bit too loudly, then both sounded "sshhh!" at the same time and broke up chuckling again. It helped ease the tension.

The location secured, we turned our attention to the sandwiches and Lone Star beer. John was sitting quietly near the bushes, staring intently in the wrong direction.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (26 of 37), Read 340 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 1999 01:03 PM


We took our duties very seriously at first, somehow imagining that we knew what they were. We tested our skills as sentinels, each sneaking a peak and darting back for cover again. The moon was bright and the sky clear. We began mapping the features of the mounds for later comparison, only twice pointing out shadows and correcting ourselves.

Late into the second beer, I sat back and relaxed a bit. I shook my head while pealing the label from the bottle. "The Great Mounds of Roador," I mused. Mary smiled back, encouraging the light chatter.

I pitched my voice higher and became a little sing-songy. "Road decor, in the great tradition of Marshall McLuhan," I said.

The snickers were quieter now. Mary responded faking a low voice. "Road memorabilia."

We were on a roll and I fired back with my best imitation of Johnny Carson. "Interstate ennui."

A question shot across Mary's face. I shrugged my shoulders.

She then sounded rather philosophical. "If there's rubber on the road, did the blown tire make a sound?"

By then I felt forced to go on. "Is a tire only the afterburn of the wheel?"

With that, we each took another Lone Star, tipped them in quick salute, and drank. Each swallow took us deeper into the philosophical ramifications of rubber. Around our fourth bottle (each), we were convinced that the situation was of enormous importance to the future of humanity. It was on that account that we began to formulate a daring plan.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (27 of 37), Read 313 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Greg Sarab (sarab@usa.net)
Date: Wednesday, June 16, 1999 04:56 PM


Wow, Roger!

I'm, like, Jack looking at his beanstalk.

Very gratifying.

Thank you.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (28 of 37), Read 308 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 07:16 AM

Interesting idea. Was it by any chance the brain-child of Douglas Adams?

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Topic: 3) Always tired (29 of 37), Read 262 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Greg Sarab (sarab@usa.net)
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 01:36 PM


Douglas Adams? Probably not. I'm pretty sure I thought this one up all by myself. But, you know, one comes across so many ideas -- original, derivative, second-hand, third-hand -- and they all go into the hopper...

BTW, the "roador" offering prompts me to suggest: ROAD ORE. Sort of fits with my story, too.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (30 of 37), Read 252 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 10:46 AM

It just seemed familiar. In fact, I think a couple of days before you posted it, someone I know laughed and said; "Rubber is alive!" He had been reading a book in the Hitchhiker's Guide series.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (31 of 37), Read 269 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Royce Alden (royce2000@yahoo)
Date: Monday, June 21, 1999 07:46 PM

..and when did his face fall into his hands and how did he re-attach it?

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Topic: 3) Always tired (32 of 37), Read 270 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 05:48 AM

Reattachment is the subject of chapter 2. I'm thinking of following the pattern of some web-zines. The first part of the story is free, but you have to pay for the ending.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (33 of 37), Read 256 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Thursday, June 24, 1999 08:03 AM

He held his face in his hands.

Familiar expression.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (34 of 37), Read 245 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Greg Sarab (sarab@usa.net)
Date: Friday, June 25, 1999 06:18 PM


When I was in high school, my local favorite rock band, Blotto, who were known for their humorous lyrics, did a parody "metal ballad" that included the line "...my heart is in your hands," always followed by a pause, grimaces of disgust by all the band members, and, sotto voce, "ewwwww" and "yuuuuch."


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Topic: 3) Always tired (35 of 37), Read 235 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Cheryl Sherlock (cherylann_s@yahoo.com)
Date: Saturday, June 26, 1999 09:38 AM

tirts? (tire parts)
pires? (partial tires)
splires? (split tires)

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Topic: 3) Always tired (36 of 37), Read 224 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Royce Alden (royce2000@yahoo)
Date: Monday, June 28, 1999 10:54 PM

Now if that band could only sing the tire story and react to the lyrics appropriately. I see a whole Broadway show coming out this. Title? "Treads" Think of all the highway driving songs...never mind the show would be ten hours long.

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Topic: 3) Always tired (37 of 37), Read 132 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Sonam Chauhan (sonam@acm.org)
Date: Monday, July 19, 1999 06:11 PM

We have floatsam and jetsam... How about "Roadsam"?

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Topic: rubber roadkill (1 of 3), Read 66 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Kent Judkins (kjudki@lsumc.edu)
Date: Tuesday, July 20, 1999 05:02 PM

This may be a little too regional but in Louisiana and Texas a common "road-killed" animal is the armadillo. For that reason, we have decided to call dead tire fragments "tiremadillos". We have come to believe that these shy creatures, which have never been successfully photographed alive, are often hit by passing vehicles as they try crossing the hiway.

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Topic: rubber roadkill (2 of 3), Read 30 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Vanessa Moore (vanessalyn@yahoo.com)
Date: Tuesday, August 24, 1999 02:02 AM

Actually, armadilloes are killed when they are in the middle of the road. They jump when they get startled by the approaching vehicle. So, they get hit by the front bumper or grill. I read that somewhere. Hmmmmm . . . can't seem to remember. Also, they always have identical quadruplets. I am a wealth of useless knowledge.

Vanessa
----------------------------------------
Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility. --James Thurber

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Topic: rubber roadkill (3 of 3), Read 28 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Aaron Reneker (zanazarius@yahoo.com)
Date: Wednesday, August 25, 1999 04:23 PM

"One person's useless knowledge is another person's victory at the local bar's drunken trivia contest." The Redneck Bible (or some facsimile thereof...)

Aaron

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Topic: Pieces of tire (1 of 1), Read 44 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Steve O'Rourke (sorourke@netstep.net)
Date: Monday, August 02, 1999 01:54 PM

I was also thinking along the lines of flotsam and jetsam... Since the pieces of tire come from large "MOTor" vehicles, why not coin the term "motsam"? Seems to capture the spirit of what you're seeking.



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Topic: 3) Always tired (1 of 1), Read 31 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Paul Hendrick (phendrick@acmail.blinncol.edu)
Date: Thursday, August 19, 1999 05:19 PM

Sonam beat me to the concept.

As soon as I read the Word Fugitive list, when I read "Always tired", I immediately thought "we've had flotsam and jetsam, it's time for rimsam, for what comes off the rim".

I do like rubberish and dagnab for second & third, though.

As Dan points out, though memorable, tire detritus is redundant (untread'd ?).

Time to retire.

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Topic: Always tired (1 of 1), Read 9 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Kent Tankersley (kent.tankersley@ntc.nokia.com)
Date: Friday, September 10, 1999 02:46 AM

Since we're already used to "road kill", what about "road spill"?


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